[Shave the Yak!] Effortless fitness apps & design by simplification

This is a Yak... try to shave thatThe problem with a lot of fitness trackers is that, for all their gorgeous product design and supposed simplicity, they still provide an excuse to shave the yak instead of actually start exercising.
“Shaving the yak” means completing an endless series of preliminary steps before you “can” do what you actually should be doing in the first place. It’s basically procrastination by other means.

The solution: radical simplification. Many so-called “features” simply got the axe. “The ideology is to keep the app really effortless, and that’s why we dropped user accounts, manual adding of exercise, and some other features,” Karjalainen says. “This has served us well–our users are saying that Moves is such a great app as ‘it asks so little, but gives so much.'” (By running in the background, Moves will deplete your iPhone’s battery faster than usual, but not by much.)

Designer Craig Mod called Moves a true “minimum viable product”, and he’s right. There isn’t much else you could strip out of Moves and still have it meaningfully function. But that’s the point. It’s not there to “do stuff,” it’s there to get you to do stuff. According to Moves, I walked 15.5 miles last week and biked eight. It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s more than I was doing before. And I didn’t have to shave any yaks in the process.

via An Effortless Fitness App That Will Get You Moving | Co.Design: business + innovation + design.

ps: I’m just posting this ’cause I’ve discovered the “shave the yak” expression and I love it


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